Say Yes To What Happens, Not Why Me

why is this happening to me?“You will fall sick, experience pain, and encounter many adverse circumstances. At such times do not think, ‘Although I am practicing the Dharma, I have nothing but trouble. The Dharma cannot be so great. I have followed a teacher and done so much practice, and yet hard times still befall me.’
Such thoughts are wrong views. You should realize that through the blessing and power of the practice, by experiencing sickness and other difficulties now, you are purifying and ridding yourself of negative actions.
By purifying them while you have the chance, you will later go from bliss to bliss. So do not think, ‘I don’t deserve this illness, these obstacles, these negative influences.’ Experience your difficulties as blessings. When you do experience such difficulties, you should be very happy and avoid having adverse thoughts like, ‘Why are such terrible things happening to me?’ “  ~ Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

This is such an important teaching from a great Tibetan Master.  When bad things happen, there is always a tendency to ask “why is this happening to me?”  It’s natural because the negative mind is the first stage the thought goes through to check for danger.  We want to know why the tough stuff is happening so we can maneuver, avoid  the same in the future, get better.  Instead of that, recognize that the challenges and pitfalls are part of the game.

This is a very sophisticated and advanced attitude of the master.  When you’re practicing and you’re serious about getting somewhere spiritually, challenges are an indication that you’re making progress.  I learned this the first time I went to the 3HO Summer Solstice in New Mexico.  I had had a run-in with an old Sikh guy in the kitchen.  He said something funny to me, and I snapped back at him.  I told my teacher about it saying, “I can’t believe that happened, that old Sikh is such a nice guy and I kind of snapped at him.”  His response was brilliant.  He said, “Oh no that’s supposed to happen.  You can’t sit around meditating all day.  Being out in the world is how you work it out.”    That’s stayed with me.  You do your practice.  You go out in the world and you work it out.  You become aware of what does and doesn’t work and you make changes.  You make progress.  Don’t ask “Why me?”  Say “Yes to it all,” and keep going.

“The warrior’s approach is to say ‘yes’ to life: ‘yea’ to it all.

–Joesph Campbell

I’ll leave you with another bit of wisdom from my teacher that helped me quite a bit.  I was having a particularly tough time with something once, and he said, “If you’re not getting negative, you’re not working hard enough.”  People think that meditation is all nirvana and zen and vomiting Namaste’s at each other.  It’s nothing of the sort.  Real meditation and yoga is a war with your sub-conscious mind and doing it right, you’re purging the sub-conscious of all the crap that keeps you trapped.  So get on with the work, know that shit is going to float up as you do it, and say yes to it all.  When the storms come, it is a compliment. It means you’re getting somewhere.  Sat Nam.

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